“Should Christians participate in Halloween?” This question is rarely asked, but often wondered. And if we are going to answer the question, can we get a definitive Biblical answer? Sure we can. God is not silent. Now, we must apply what principles the Bible gives to the actual situations of life, but I leave that up to you.
1. Consider What Halloween Celebrates (can we celebrate that?) I am amazed that earlier and earlier superstores are geared up for October 31. As soon as the last school supply is sold, the Halloween decorations appear. In August? Really? But here they come…skeletons, tombs, witches, death and gore fill the aisles of the store. Of course, you can dress as something as harmless as an M&M, but it is clear that the celebration is of the “dark elements” of this world. Consider what the Bible says,
Deuteronomy 18:10-12 – (10) There shall not be found among you any one that maketh his son or his daughter to pass through the fire, or that useth divination, or an observer of times, or an enchanter, or a witch, (11) Or a charmer, or a consulter with familiar spirits, or a wizard, or a necromancer. (12) For all that do these things are an abomination unto the LORD: and because of these abominations the LORD thy God doth drive them out from before thee.
Now, you might say, “That’s Old Testament.” And you would be right. You might say, “That’s the Law.” Right again! “We are not under the law.” Triple right. But this tells us that incantations, witches, wizards, those consorting with the dead are all abominations (desperately hated) by God. This does not mean that we apply the penalty of the Law to those who do. It just tells us what God thinks, and He said He doesn’t change. (Malachi 3:6, Hebrews 13:8)
2. Consider the Origins for the Holiday (can we Christianize them or should we avoid them all together?) The origins of the holiday are first pagan (ancient day of Samhain, pronounced “sou-hane”) then later Catholic (as they have done in all centuries, the Roman Catholic church sought to take over and incorporate the holiday). Here is the description off of the History Channel as a random sampling…
“Straddling the line between fall and winter, plenty and paucity, life and death, Halloween is a time of celebration and superstition. It is thought to have originated with the ancient Celtic festival of Samhain, when people would light bonfires and wear costumes to ward off roaming ghosts. In the eighth century, Pope Gregory III designated November 1 as a time to honor all saints and martyrs; the holiday, All Saints’ Day, incorporated some of the traditions of Samhain.”
Occultism or Catholicism, take your pick. Neither agree with Scripture. If there were no ghosts, ghouls, witches, zombies, etc. as a part of these celebrations, there might be a case for saying it is not a pagan holiday. But this is not the case.
Ephesians 5:7-8, 10-11 – (7) Be not ye therefore partakers with them. (8) For ye were sometimes darkness, but now are ye light in the Lord: walk as children of light: … (10) Proving what is acceptable unto the Lord. (11) And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them.
3. Consider God’s Commands for Christians in the New Testament (can we follow them and still celebrate Halloween?) The Bible is clear that we cannot bind the Christ-life with the practices of this world. Halloween is still today known as a secular, pagan holiday.
2 Corinthians 6:14, 17 – (14) Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness? … (17) Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you,
Maybe you say, “Well, what about Christmas and Easter. Weren’t they pagan holidays?” The answer is that they have pagan associations. But we celebrate the birth of Christ at Christmas, not worship a tree (or a jolly old elf). And we celebrate the Resurrection of Christ at Easter (which happens to be at the same time of year, thus their coincidence–see Acts 12:4). What are we celebrating about Christ on Halloween?
4. Consider a Positive Involvement in Halloween (can we do something good and Christ-honoring on this day?) Whether you celebrate or not, people are going to come to your door. Have some Gospel tracts ready, maybe with at bit of candy attached. Be friendly to people. We are, after all, called to be light in the darkness. Most people don’t go out to “consort with demons” but rather to have a good time. They are ignorant of the associations of the holiday. You don’t have to preach them a message about Halloween, but you can kindly give them a Gospel tract. Also, consider some Halloween alternatives. Many churches host a festival to encourage children not to go out door-to-door (which frankly, is dangerous). These festivals celebrate good old-fashioned fun and the coming harvest.
Really, the decision is up to you. In each of these I used the word ‘consider’ because I hope you will think about what the Bible says and apply it appropriately. I asked questions that you must answer for yourself and your family. I am glad that we each have access to God’s Holy Word and His Holy Spirit and that is where we must make our decision. And then the question of Halloween can be settled for your family.